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PRESIDENTIAL LECTURE SERIES | Social Media & Contemporary Presidential Rhetoric

February 25, 2020 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Few events have more radically reshaped the public sphere than the rise of mass media. From radio to television to social media, the past century fundamentally altered how presidents in the United States communicate with the electorate, and how those leaders were perceived by the people. Dr. Denise Bostdorff of Wooster College has studied presidential rhetoric for more than thirty years and produced some of the most influential books and articles on that topic in that period. In a dialogue, Dr. Bostdorff will discuss key moments in the development of presidential rhetoric over the last several decades, the role of presidential rhetoric in shaping American politics, and the drastic changes in presidential rhetoric associated with the rise of social media and the presidency of Donald Trump. This series is co-sponsored by the University of Kansas Department of Communication Studies, the Department of History, and the Department of Political Science.

This program is free and open to the public. No ticket is required.


Denise M. Bostdorff is professor and chair of Communication Studies at The College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio. She has published two books—The Presidency and the Rhetoric of Foreign Crisis and Proclaiming the Truman Doctrine: The Cold War Call to Arms, which won the Bruce E. Gronbeck Political Communication Research Award. In addition, she has published essays on presidential rhetoric about race, foreign policy, political campaigns, and war in outlets such as Quarterly Journal of Speech, Presidential Studies Quarterly, and Rhetoric & Public Affairs.

The Presidential Lecture Series

Each Spring, the Dole Institute presents a series of programs focusing on a particular aspect of U.S. political leadership, typically the U.S. Presidency. These events feature nationally-known individuals, including public servants, historians, top strategists, award-winning journalists, and political operatives. This year’s Presidential Lecture Series, created and developed by award-winning presidential rhetoric scholar Dr. Robert Rowland, focuses on presidential speeches and rhetoric, from the greatest speeches, to the process of speechwriting, to changes in presidential rhetoric in the age of social media. Join us for this compelling journey through the words that defined presidencies.

Accessibility: Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend University of Kansas sponsored events. If you require a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this event, please contact the Dole Institute of Politics at least four business days prior to the event date by calling (785) 864-4900 or emailing To learn more about accessible offerings at the institute, please click here.

Parking: The Dole Institute is located in KU’s West District, just west of the Lied Center of Kansas. Plentiful free parking is available in the adjoining lot. No permit is required.

Video: A free live stream of this event will be available through the institute’s YouTube channel. Following the conclusion of the program, the event will be archived to YouTube. If any technical issues occur, the video will be re-uploaded within two to three business days.

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